Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Friday 25th April 2003

To the theatre last night for the first time in ages, to see Pretending to be me before it closes (on Saturday). It was excellent - completely engaging. Tom Courtney's acting was infallible and I was fooled at times into thinking there was, at least a version of, Philip Larkin on stage. As someone who first enjoyed (if that is the right word) Larkin's poetry when studying it for A-Levels, it was a chance to stretch back to the time when I did actually read poetry - as opposed to the more common self-improving ordeal I put myself through these days when feeling especially self-righteous. This involves picking up an un-thumbed copy of works by a poet I don't like (purchased while at University to make my bookshelves look more impressive) and, with sweaty palms and a creased brow, attempting to finish a long poem without panicking or completely losing the thread. I left the theatre last night with a renewed poetic vigour, determined only to re-discover reading poetry for enjoyment. After all, I recently finished reading Possession by A.S. Byatt, a novel containing pages of long and fairly self-indulgent poems imitating Victorian poetry (in between an intriguing story - I'd recommend the book if only for the last 150 pages) and, after reading four or five of these poems, I decided simply to skip them, a nice bit of dumbing down that left me simpler and happier.

Speaking of how one reads poetry, I like Larkin's comment about 'extra-curricular knowledge', repeated in the play last night - He condemns "Poetry that can't be understood without footnotes: "See the picture 'A dog buried in the sand' among the Black Paintings of Goya in the Prado." Why the fucking hell should I?" He's got a point.

17 - posted at 11:46:22

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